3 Basic Dry Fly Styles for Mayflies

This week’s post is about 3 basic dry fly styles for mayflies. I recently wrote a blog about Parachute Flies and that got me thinking about the variety of fly styles available to the fly fisher to imitate the adult mayfly stage.

I thought it might be good to provide the options available with only one insect – a PMD.

PMD on Water | www.johnkreft.com

I love fishing mayfly dry flies. In fact, I was fishing my home waters the other day and couldn’t believe the prolific hatch and wide variety of mayflies…Pale Morining Duns (PMDs), Green Drakes and Flavs, Blue Wing Olives (BWOs), Mahogany Duns, and Pale Evening Duns (PEDs). I think that’s why I really enjoy dry fly fishing so I can watch noses rise or heads come out of the water and hopefully eat my imitation. Continue reading

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CDC & Elk TBT

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the CDC & Elk TBT.

CDC & Elk | www.johnkreft.com

The CDC & Elk is a fly Hans Weilenmann created in 1992. It combines the proven properties of an Elk Hair Caddis developed by Al Troth with CDC feathers for the body and “hackle”.

I tied my first CDC & Elk flies after completing the research for my post about the different CDC feathers, entitled Use Fly Patterns with CDC Feathers.

If you’d like more information about the CDC & Elk TBT fly, click HERE to read it in Hans’ own words.

Enjoy…go fish!

 

 

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Fall and a Dry Fly

Last week I talked about how much I enjoy fall fly fishing. It’s been great this year! What I wanted to share this week is how effective one fly has been for me…a Green Drake Sparkle Dun. Yes, Fall and a dry fly just go together.

Baby Rainbow Trout Eating Big Fly | www.johnkreft.com

Even the smaller fish eat this bug! It amazes me how a small trout rises to a larger fly. This is a #12 fly a 6″ fish ate.

And bigger fish eat them too. Continue reading

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October Fly Fishing

October fly fishing is a special time of year. It’s the last hurrah for both fly fishers AND fish. I’ve said before that fishing tapers off dramatically around November 1, so that means I have less than one month to get my fix for awhile.

So I need to make sure I have the right flies in my fly box.

I knew I had written a post a couple of years ago entitled October Fly Box, so I looked it up. Low an behold, it’s right on for the bugs I saw on the river today.

Let me start with a blanket hatch of PMDs or PMD look-alike mayflies

Blanket Hatch | www.johnkreft.com

This is what I found at the river. It was made up of hundreds of these… Continue reading

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Fran Better’s Haystack

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Fran Better’s Haystack.

Haystack | www.johnkreft.com

This is another fly I found while reading Mike Valla’s book entitled The Founding Flies – 43 American Masters, Their Patterns and Influences.

You might recognize this fly because it is very similar to the Sparkle Dun mayflies I tie and fish so much. But the Fran Better’s Haystack is the first of many iterations of this style of fly.

Betters created this fly during his senior year of high school in June 1949. He used Key deer for the wings and tail with a body or either muskrat or opossum dubbing.

Later, Betters used Woodchuck to replace the deer hair because he couldn’t find Key deer any longer. He must have had lots of Woodchuck because he used it in the tails of another fly he created, the Ausable Wulff.

The progression of the fly continued when Al Caucci developed the Comparadun mayfly in the early 1960’s as a variant to the classic Haystack fly pattern. Caucci joined with Bob Nastasi and introduced the fly in 1972 in their first book Comparahatch.

Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone created another variation, using Zelon for the tail and named it the Sparkle Dun.

To find out more about Fran Betters, I highly recommend Valla’s book.

Enjoy…go fish!

 

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Parachute Flies

I was thinking the other day about the dry flies I use most of the time and the fact they don’t include parachute flies. Sure, I’ll use parachute flies on some rivers and perhaps tie on a Purple Haze in the evening at the spring creek I fish. And sometimes it works.

I gave away a few Purple Haze flies to a friend on the river and I began thinking about how important flies tied with hackles can be.

Purple Haze

Purple Haze | www.johnkreft.com

Continue reading

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Galloup’s Compara Spinner

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Galloup’s Compara Spinner.

Galloup's Compara Spinner | www.johnkreft.com

I stayed at Galloup’s Slide Inn on the Madison River during our 2017 fly fishing road trip and I thought it appropriate to feature a few of Kelly’s flies for my Throw Back Thursday Fly feature. I spent some time with him at the shop taking photos of a few of his famous flies and hearing stories of them as well. Continue reading

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Preparing for October Caddis

It might be a little early to begin talking about and preparing for October Caddis, but while fishing last week, we happened to see a large number of caddis cases … big caddis cases … attached to a rock partially submerged in the water. It looked as though someone had collected all of them and left the cases in a pile. Upon closer inspection, the caddis cases were attached to the rocks.

October Caddis Cases on Rock | www.johnkreft.com

Here is a close up of the cased caddis. They build their houses out of the surrounding rocks where they live. Continue reading

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Troutsman Hex

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Troutsman Hex.

Troutsman Hex | www.johnkreft.com

I stayed at Slide Inn on the Madison River recently during our 2017 fly fishing road trip. One afternoon, I went to the shop and talked with Kelly about my Throw Back Thursday Fly feature and asked him if I could take pictures of a few of his flies. He graciously agreed and began telling me stories about his flies.

Originally I was after a few of his streamer fly patterns like the Zoo Cougar and T & A Leech, but he went into the back room and pulled out this used Hex for me as well.

I’m grateful he did!

If you look closely at the fly, notice the deer hair extending out the back of the fly. He believes this little trick adds to the fly’s flotation ability. In fact, I’ll be including another fly as a TBT that has the same feature.

Kelly developed this fly in the early 1970’s for the Manistee River in Michigan where his first fly shop, the Troutsman fly shop was located. He told me he purchased the Slide Inn on the Madison River in 2001 and moved to Montana in 2002.

The Troutsman Hex was produced by McKenzie Fly in the 1980’s before it was commonplace to include the developers name on the fly.

Galloup is the author of Cripples and Spinners (2001) and co-author of Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout (2004) with Bob Linsenman.

And here is a version Kelly called a Cripple or Spinner.

Troutsman Hex Cripple or Spinner | www.johnkreft.com

Enjoy…go fish!

 

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